The 19 most likely to shine brighter in 2019
THE country’s fourth Miss Universe continues to be an inspiration to many. Her message: if you work hard at your goals, continue to be the person that you are, and remain grateful for each blessing, life will reward you in so many ways.
Now based in New York City where she will perform her numerous functions as the universe’s most beautiful, Gray will surely seize every moment to make the most out of her reign and make our country more proud.
YOUNG filmmaker Mikhail Red is definitely painting tinseltown in more vibrant colors and hues. After a magnificent output with his debut movie Birdshot,
which he followed up with the impressive Neomanila,
Red has more in store with his third feature film, Eerie,
a horror movie which had its premiere in Singapore a few months back.
The son of acclaimed filmmaker Raymond Red continues to show his mettle and is about to start on the zombie movie Block Z soon. The project was temporarily put on halt, which prompted Mikhail to resign as filmmaker, but the mega-producers lured him back with promises of more projects this year. The promising director reconsidered, but our sources claimed that he forgot to ask for intellectual property ownership for this special project which he should have insisted.
EVERY once in a while we get to meet someone who instantaneously sweeps us off our feet after just a few minutes of conversation. New actress Barbara Ruaro had a good run in 2018 and looks forward to breaking new grounds this year.
Ruaro, who is also a staunch mental-health advocate, made us take notice of her raw and splendid performances in films like Timmy Harn’s Dog Days and Joel Ruiz’s Kung Paano Siya Nawala. She also dipped her fingers in film production, shooting in the south for a project, titled The Art of Ligaw.
GLORIOUS is one good adjective to describe the year that was for Tony Labrusca, no doubt the breakout star of 2018. His digital movie with the ageless Angel Aquino became the talk of town, the trailer of which scoring an unprecedented number of hits and views on the Internet. He also starred in two daring films—ML and Double Twisting Double Back—for local independent film festivals.
Labrusca will be elevated to leading man status for his next TV series Mea Culpa. He is also working on two films this year, and there’s the Darna movie also waiting for his free time.
AFTER graduating from the College of Saint Benilde, Valdes tried to check out the acting scene byway of a role in Giancarlo Abrahan’s Paki, Cinema One Film Festival’s Best Film. The debut role garnered a best supporting actor nomination for Valdes which immediately ignited the fire in him to chart a course in the performing arts. Valdes specializes in the art of movement and dance, and he is slowly learning the basics of being an actor. He has just finished a film where he plays the title role of a robot, intended for the next edition of Cinemalaya.
Valdes is the great grandson of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, and the son of thespian Eula Valdes. His father is Ronnie Quizon, the son of Comedy King Dolphy.
THE new year brings new hope to Derrick Monasterio, who, if he plays his cards right, should be the next big actor of his home network. Tall, handsome, hunky, a people person and very pleasant, it is just sad that he’s not given the big push that he so rightfully deserves. Perhaps he should consider finding a new home when his contract expires.
FOR someone who was not afraid to get into the arena where big-time film sharks swim, Tiri is highly commendable as the brave movie producer who gave us such endearing films, like Patay na si Hesus and Dedma Walking. His T-Rex Film is quietly preparing for new, exciting, and intelligent projects that will again surely send ripples in the film industry that’s still monopolized only by a privileged few. He deserves our support all the way.
STILL at the peak of being a fashion model, April Tanhueco wants to explore other avenues like acting for film and television. She is setting her eyes on the digital shows that are mushrooming all over the Internet and cable TV.
Very entrepreneurial, Tanhueco also co-owns a beauty business, called Prettiserrie Hair and Nail Salon in the Tomas Morato area. This beautiful bundle of energy has also ventured into hosting for corporate events and pageants. A woman of many gifts, indeed.
HE has done hundreds of movies to date but Mon Confiado continues to surprise us every year. In 2018 he took home two acting trophies for his flawless performance in Those Long Haired Nights—one from the resurrected Famas and another one from the Urduja Heritage Film Awards. His role as Emilio Aguinaldo keeps on hogging the big screen—first with Heneral Luna, then last year with Goyo.
Stateside, the film he shot in the United States, is now ready for international release, and he is wrapping up work for the Korean movie Packages, where he costars with Korean actor Kwak Do-won. Mon Confiado is certainly going places.
SYLVIA SANCHEZ’S lovely daughter Ria is slowly moving away from the shadow of her mother and equally talented brother Arjo. Initially a reluctant actress, Atayde has warmed up quite well and has absorbed all the learnings that she can get from her big breaks on television. We hope to see her star in a breakthrough movie this year.
WE always look forward to watching Nelsito Gomez perform onstage. Not long ago, he gave two outstanding performances: as the central character in My Name is Asher Lev, and as the gay and Catholic painter Alfonso Ossorio in Angry Christ. Before the year 2018 was over, Gomez appeared alongside Ricky Davao in Baka Naman Hindi (A Flea in Her Ear).
He flew to the UK to do research for future projects, watched 14 plays and explored many possibilities. Gomez formed a group called Company of Players in Streamlined Theater, and they will be doing staged readings very soon.
SHE has remained an underrated actress despite being a member of the illustrious Eigenmann showbiz clan, but the cool person that she is, Max Eigenmann believes that everything happens at the right time. She wowed film critics when she did Lem Lorca’s Ned’s Project, and even took home a best supporting actress trophy. A young mother of two lovely boys, Eigenmann has almost wrapped up her next big film project with young filmmaker Raymund Ribay Gutierrez, under the production of internationally acclaimed filmmaker Brillante Mendoza. So watch out for her when the film does the rounds of international festivals this year.
AS early as last year, Gerick Manalo was being touted as the next big celebrity chef. Good looks, a passion for no-nonsense gastronomic creations using healthy ingredients, and youth all make Manalo the most promising among the young chefs we have today.
For 2019 Manalo told us that he will unwrap a new business which he will share first with BUSINESSMIRROR. And hopefully, a new travel and food lifestyle show will be in the offing so we can see him more on the small screen.
WE always cheer for underdogs. Even when Maymay Entrata was inside the Pinoy Big Brother’s house, we felt that there was something in her that will someday unravel, similar to the story of the ugly duckling that turned into a princess goose. So when she eventually won the search and her tandem with Edward Barber gained popularity, we felt we hadn’t seen nothing yet of her.
Entrata is a favorite of local designers because of her frame and natural model features. So it was no wonder when she sashayed at the 2018 Arab Fashion week in Dubai in November, wearing the creations of acclaimed designer Furne One.
THE farmer from Bicol whose passion for acting keeps him from minding the a 10-hour bus ride to the big city just to audition for a role. His persistence and perseverance have started to pay off by way of two big movie roles that we will definitely watch this 2019.
Felix has finished Mina Anud, the debut film of Kerwin Go shot in a quaint surfing destination in Quezon; and he has also wrapped up work for the Cinemalaya entry Ani, codirected by Kim Zuñiga and Sandro del Rosario.
WE always loved breakthrough women filmmakers. The last one we cheered for was Hannah Espia, who impressed us with the film Transit. Espia is now based overseas and married to a foreigner.
2018 saw the rise of Dwein Baltazar, who directed two very good films: Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus and Oda sa Wala. She also wrote the screenplay for the romantic movie Exes Baggage, starring Angelica Panganiban and Carlo Aquino. We are quite sure that Baltazar and her works will figure prominently during the awards season.
THE well-loved concert producer who took a big gamble on Jed Madela and won is Filipino Chinese Calvin Chua. Dubbed as the future mega-producer, Chua is the man behind the very successful concert of Madela at the Araneta Coliseum a few months ago.
Always keeping a low profile, Chua has also bankrolled projects for artists, such as Ronnie Alonte, Louise de los Reyes, Christian Bautista, and some of the GMA hunks like Rocco Nacino and Derrick Monasterio. He starts this year with a bang with a concert, billed as The Aces, featuring Lani Misalucha, Jona and Darren Espanto. The show takes off in Cebu on February 2 at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel and then moves to the Davao SMX Convention Center on March 2.
NICOLE LAUREL ASENSIO
BEAUTIFUL and bewitching chanteuse Nicole Asensio is from the famous Laurel clan of artists and politicians. She knew early on that singing is where she will find the most fulfillment, that’s why she has pursued this path. Asensio is a much sought-after performer for corporate shows and events, as she can also do hosting. We learned that she is willing to give acting a try this year, and with such bearing, charm and wit, we’re quite sure that she will also excel in front of the cameras.
HE first made many take notice of his acting chops as the best friend of the lead gay character in Jun Lana’s Die Beautiful. That performance won him various acting awards and opened many doors for Visayan actor Christian Bables.
He was supposed to play the lead role in the follow-up movie Born Beautiful but conflicts and controversies took over and he lost the project to another actor. Shaken and scarred but not giving up, Bables prayed for another chance and it was generously given to him by director Chito Roño, who cast him for the lead role in Signal Rock. Bables will surely be a frontrunner in the best lead actor race come awards season. He will surely go a long, long way in the acting business. ■
ALL ACCESS RICKY GALLARDO